In Farhad Delaram’s feature debut, two fugitives in contemporary Iran encounter citizens across the country, all wounded by the same corrupt government and all united in their willingness to help the pair survive.




Farhad Delaram

Nicknamed Achilles, Farid (Mirsaeed Molavian), a former filmmaker, now works nights as an orthotist in Iran’s capital. Broken by the only political system his generation has ever known, he is consumed by anger and sorrow. One night, after a colleague’s devastating revelation of losing her son and additionally suffering 26 days before authorities permitted his body to be claimed, Achilles’s apathy begins to crumble. Meanwhile, the administration is cracking down on his lack of rule-following, which leads him to a hospital’s restricted psychiatric ward. There, he meets a sedated patient, handcuffed to her bed: Hedieh (Behdokht Valian), a political prisoner who has been institutionalized for years. Now, with the help of Achilles, she will again experience freedom — which, as those who have lived without it know, is regained at a cost. The duo’s only option is to flee.

Shot on location, Achilles takes us from Tehran to the dried-up Lake Urmia in Iran’s northwestern province of Shabestar, to the Caspian Sea, and, with authorities in hot pursuit, to Maku, near Turkey’s border. Unbeknownst to Hedieh, who is estranged from her daughter, the journey is not entirely haphazard. Unbeknownst to Farid, his actions will ripple well beyond his own life.

Writer-director Farhad Delaram developed this film as the bloody crackdown on protesters began in his home country, and he drew on his lived experience, having spent weeks in a small cell surrounded only by concrete. His feature debut is a testament to the magnitude of collective cracks that — when amassed — can tear down walls.


Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival


Fri Sep 08

Scotiabank 13

Sat Sep 09

Scotiabank 8

Sun Sep 10

Scotiabank 6

Thu Sep 14

Scotiabank 8